M&G plc has acquired a majority stake in sustainable housebuilder Greencore Construction (“Greencore”), on behalf of policyholders in its £143 billion Prudential With Profits Fund. The investment will help Greencore to significantly expand its capacity and increase its impact across the UK. M&G also plans to invest up to half a billion pounds over the next three to five years in sustainable new developments of private and affordable housing, in partnership with Greencore.
Greencore has developed an innovative modern method of construction (MMC) which uses a closed panel timber frame, manufactured off-site and insulated with natural materials such as hemp, lime and wood-fibre. This allows it to build high quality, energy efficient homes which lock up more carbon than is emitted both during construction and also over the lifetime of the home. Greencore’s science-led approach is a unique and disruptive solution within the housebuilding sector, which needs to make major changes to its methods in order to meet the UK’s net zero targets and help people reduce fuel bills.
The equity investment into Greencore has been made by M&G’s Catalyst team, which is investing up to £5 billion into innovative privately-owned businesses working to create a more sustainable world. Catalyst’s flexible and patient capital will allow Greencore to scale its operations nationwide and deliver for their large institutional clients. The co-development with Greencore will be led by M&G’s real estate investment team, on behalf of investors in its residential property and shared ownership strategies.
With its increased capacity Greencore will expand its customer base of existing and new institutional clients for new developments. It is about to complete Springfield Meadows, an award winning sustainable housing development in Oxfordshire, one third of which is available for affordable rent or shared ownership. WSP, one of the UK’s largest engineering professional services consultancies, has conducted independent assessments of the Greencore products, including a whole life carbon emissions assessment on Plot 12 on Springfield Meadows, a typical Greencore house. This evidenced that Greencore is at the forefront of sustainable housing in the UK, with negative whole life carbon emissions (-278 kgCO2e/m2), compared with RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects)’s 2030 target of +625 kgCO2e/m2 for domestic housing.
Ian Pritchett, Managing Director of Greencore Construction, says: “With this investment, Greencore can scale to have a transformational impact on sustainable housebuilding standards in this country.
The built environment is one of the biggest emitters of carbon, both in construction and occupation, but we’ve shown it doesn’t have to be this way. Our homes are sustainable to build and sustainable to live in, which is becoming more important than ever as energy prices continue to spiral.”
Jack Daniels, Chief Investment Officer, M&G plc, says: “The scale, expertise and flexibility we have across our business means we are uniquely positioned to help Greencore transform UK house building to a more sustainable model. Our investment will enable thousands of people to live in high quality, comfortable and energy efficient homes, while also potentially benefitting millions of our customers and policyholders in our With Profits Fund.”
Springfield Meadows, the UK’s leading sustainable housing development, has been awarded Timber Frame Project of the Year and Custom and Self-Build Project of the Year at the Structural Timber Awards. The site consists of 25 beautiful homes, including nine managed by Sovereign Housing Association and is a fully Climate Positive development, with net-zero energy and better-than-zero carbon.
In winning the two awards, presented to Ian Pritchett by Mark Durden Smith, the eco housing development beat four other projects shortlisted for each of the titles. Shortlisted contenders for the title were judged on their use of timber throughout the development, how the homes achieved the visions of its prospective buyers, and the ways in which the team worked to achieve a seamless, defect-free project. Ian Pritchett, Managing Director of Greencore Construction, collected the prize, which was judged by a panel including members of the Structural Timber Association and the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering.
James Pritchett of Greencore Construction said: “We are thrilled to have won two of the three awards we were shortlisted for at the Structural Timber Awards. It closely follows our win at the OxProp Awards, where we were awarded Best Residential Development in Oxfordshire.
22 of the sustainable homes at Springfield Meadows are now sold with two under offer and just one available for sale. The homes, which are all net-zero energy and have a better-than-zero carbon footprint, were developed using Greencore’s Biond system.
Biond is a closed timber framed panel that is insulated with lime-hemp and wood-fibre insulation. The external wall panels lock up 32kg of CO2e per m2 of wall, so its impact on the environment out-performs almost all other construction systems.
Early buyers at Springfield Meadows had the opportunity to custom-build the design of their home, including alternative floorplans, kitchens, bathrooms, and battery storage. The development is pioneering its fully-electric car club, which is available to residents and all the houses have triple glazed windows, PV panels, and are built to the Passivhaus energy standard.
Bioregional, the environmental charity, has recognised the scheme’s attributes, awarding it One Planet Global Leader status. The certificate champions a holistic approach to new-build developments, ensuring that they are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and landscape-led to respect existing nature in the area.
The Structural Timber Awards is a flagship industry event that rewards and celebrates excellence in response to the impact of climate change and the use of sustainable structural timber systems. The awards see exponential growth each year, as the industry progresses in its battle to reduce carbon emissions in the construction sector. Companies at the forefront of the industry enter to win the prestigious awards, with categories covering healthcare, social housing, engineering, and installation. It recognises the design and technology that makes these inspiring projects possible.
The six members of the Oxfordshire Zero Carbon Homes (OZCHI) partnership* have written to the leaders of all six Oxfordshire councils calling for rapid action to ensure that all new buildings across the county are built to ‘zero carbon’ standards. The letter is attached.
This follows the proposal in the current Oxfordshire 2050 Plan consultation (Policy 1) that supports the objective of “net zero whole life carbon for both residential and non-residential” buildings.
However this Plan will not come into effect until 2023 at the earliest. OZCHI members wish to see some real progress made on this issue before then and to ensure that this issue is not parked for two years. The letter points out that:
- The County, City and District councils are now able to set more demanding local building regulations, which go beyond the current national building regulations. The councils could and should work together to establish a common set of local standards that will be clear to architects and developers.Starting work on this now would send a clear message and set the scene for the 2050 Plan when agreed.
- Up to 100,000 new houses are planned for Oxfordshire in the next 10 years. Our councils and government are all committed to ‘zero carbon’ targets. The University of Manchester Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research has published the total ‘carbon budgets’ for each Local Authority in the UK if they are to do their fair share in reaching the national target. The budgets for the five district and city Local Authorities within Oxfordshire add up to a budget of 26.3MT (million tonnes) of allowable emissions (up to 2100).
- Cherwell District Council 7.3MT
- West Oxfordshire District Council 3.7MT
- South Oxfordshire District Council 5.6MT
- Vale of the White Horse District Council 5.2MT
- Oxford City Council 4.5MT
Each new house built in the traditional way to meet current Building Regulations will be responsible for around 200 tonnes of emissions. Thus some 80% of Oxfordshire’s carbon budget may be wasted by building unsustainable houses that will need to be upgraded to future standards before too long.
OZCHI is also suggesting that the councils should set up an ‘Oxfordshire Zero Carbon Homes Innovation Zone’ to tackle the obstacles that exist, develop skills and training, and promote the emerging good practice taking place in Oxfordshire and across the UK.
Speaking for OZCHI Chris Church said: “We urgently need government action to cut energy waste in our homes. But this is a case where ‘local can lead’: our councils have the power to set standards in line with their zero commitments, and make Oxfordshire a real centre for positive innovation. The 2050 Plan goal is welcome, but we should be acting now.”
* The six members of the Oxfordshire Zero Carbon Homes Initiative (OZCHI) partnership are:
- Developer: Greencore Construction
- Architects: Jessop & Cook; Sowspace; Transition by Design
- Environmental organisations: Bioregional; Oxford Friends of the Earth
See: https://www.oxfoe.co.uk/ozchi/ for more information including materials from the county-wide seminar held by OZCHI in July.
On Thursday 9th September, Springfield Meadows scooped the OxProp Award for Best Residential Development in Oxfordshire. Springfield Meadows is the UK’s most sustainable private residential property development site consisting of 25 beautiful homes, including nine managed by Sovereign Housing Association.
In winning the award, the eco-living site beat five other Oxfordshire developments shortlisted for the title. Ssassy Property and Greencore Construction – the developers of Springfield Meadows development in Southmoor – collected the prize, which was judged by members of the UK Property Forum, Bicester Heritage and presented by Olympic rower Greg Searle.
22 of the sustainable homes at Springfield Meadows are now sold with two under offer and just one available off. The homes that are all net-zero energy and better-than-zero carbon footprint, were developed using Greencore’s Biond system. Biond is a closed timber framed panel that is insulated with Lime-Hemp & wood-fibre insulation. The external wall panels lock up 32kg of CO2e per m2 of wall meaning that it out-performs almost all other construction systems in its impact on the environment. Early buyers had the opportunity to custom-build the design of their home, including alternative floorplans, kitchens, bathrooms and battery storage. The development is pioneering with its fully electric car club which is available to residents and all the houses have triple glazed windows, PV panels and are built the Passivhaus energy standard.
Ian Pritchett, Managing Director of Greencore Construction said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won the ‘Best Residential Development’ award. We set out to build the most sustainable residential development in the country, an exemplar for others to follow, and we think we have achieved this. Unless the house building industry drastically reduces its carbon impact we will squander the allocated carbon budgets long before 2050. We’ve also worked with BBOWT – the local wildlife trust to help us increase the biodiversity of the site they designed the landscaping and communal gardens and will monitor the development for the next 5 years, a first for a developer.”
Bioregional, the environmental charity, has recognised the scheme’s attributes by awarding it One Planet Global Leader status. The certificate champions a holistic approach to new-build developments, ensuring that they are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and landscape-led to respect existing nature in the area.
The OxProp Awards are part of OxPropFest, an event tailored to the property, science, and innovation community from The Arc, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire regions. It brings these disciplines together for a day of networking, knowledge-sharing, and celebration.
The UK’s most sustainable property development site, Springfield Meadows in Oxfordshire, has hosted the first ever One Planet Living community event. Organised by Ssassy Property and Greencore Construction, on Wednesday 15th September residents were able to chat with One Planet Living about how to green their living habits further, with myenergi to discuss all things renewable energy in the home, including Zappi car charging points and the local Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) who will monitor the wildlife and biodiversity of the project for the next 5 years and report back to the residents. All residents have also been given complimentary BBOWT membership when they moved into their new house.
Representatives from all companies were also on hand to take residents through the biodiversity measures that have been implemented, as well as the carbon performance of the site and the electric car club. This followed the Springfield Meadows Open Day for prospective buyers to get their hands on the keys to the last remaining available property.
Green living and sustainable construction sets Springfield Meadows apart from most UK residential property developments. Currently, it is thought to be the UK’s leading sustainable private residential property development. What’s more, it is now becoming one of the most thriving communities for residents – both in the houses and outside in the wildlife areas.
Ian Pritchett and James Pritchett of Ssassy Property and Greencore Construction delivered an update to residents on progress at Springfield Meadows before handing over to Bioregional, who shared the One Planet Living framework and action plan with residents. Residents also had the opportunity to try out HIYA electric cars, and found out more about wildlife features for gardens with BBOWT.
In 2019, Springfield Meadows was awarded Bioregional’s One Planet Living Global Leader status. The certificate champions a holistic approach to new-build developments, ensuring that they are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and landscape-led to respect existing nature in the area.
James Pritchett of Greencore Construction said: “With only one home left on the market at Springfield Meadows, we’re pleased with how positive the response has been to this sustainable development. Our buyers are outstanding in their commitment to uphold this respect for nature and sustainability in the community.”